ATS, MPET and PSA launch first fully electric straddle carrier in mainland Europe


11 May 2023 | MSC PSA European Terminal (MPET), officially launched a new fully electric straddle carrier (e-straddle carrier) at its terminal in the Port of Antwerp today, as part of the joint Green Straddle Carrier Program initiated by Antwerp Terminal Services (ATS), MPET and PSA Antwerp (PSAA).

This is an important milestone for the port as the straddle carrier is the first-of-its-kind in mainland Europe. Konecranes, a global manufacturer of cranes and lifting equipment, built this e-straddle carrier by applying the latest battery technology to allow continuous operation for more than four hours, without any dip in performance.

In line with the UN Paris Climate Agreement and the EU Green Deal, ATS, MPET and PSAA aim to reduce their carbon emissions by 50 percent in 2030, against a 2019 baseline and achieve net-zero emissions for all their terminals by 2050. As part of their plan to reach these objectives, the e-straddle carrier, which runs 100 percent on batteries and takes approximately 90 minutes to fully recharge, can play an important role in the long run by helping to reduce terminal greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, all electricity purchased by MPET and the PSA terminals in Belgium is solely from renewable sources thus there will not be any greenhouse gases emitted while producing energy to power the e-straddle carriers.

Over the coming months, MPET will evaluate the e-straddle carrier’s performance in live operations. During this trial period, ATS will assess how the equipment can be improved, and examine other factors that are necessary to scale up this new technology, including how to optimize the recharging of a larger fleet and the possibility of  safely and effectively progressing to full scale operations.

Johan Van Daele, CEO at MPET is enthusiastic about the new e-straddle carrier: "The energy transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable alternatives is in full swing and we are taking a leading role at our terminals. Although we still have many obstacles to clear before scaling up our e-straddle carrier program, having a working prototype is an important first step to a zero-emission straddle carrier fleet.”

Green Straddle Carrier Program

The e-straddle carrier feasibility study is part of the joint Green Straddle Carrier Program, in which the terminal operators are holistically evaluating four major technological pathways to significantly reduce these vehicles’ carbon emissions in their actual working environment - full electrification, hydrogen, hybrid battery/diesel and biofuel. Conclusive results from the study will determine which technology will be scaled up to meet future energy needs.

Francis De Ruytter, Regional Head of Sustainability for PSA Europe, Mediterranean and the Americas, emphasizes the importance of targeting straddle carriers to reach PSA’s sustainability goals. “Straddle carriers are crucial in maintaining highly productive operations at our terminals, but at the same time they are responsible for approximately 90 percent of our direct emissions in Belgium. We are examining alternatives, while concurrently investing in our Green Straddle Carrier program that explores various technological options and partners to make these vehicles more sustainable in the near term.”